Last week was another good week for picks, even though there were a few surprises, and there have already been some surprises this week with a huge lead by Detroit (surprise!) and a last second hail mary touchdown by Green Bay (surprise!), so I’m already 0-1 on the week, and I have some catching up to do.
The Eagles looked like a total mess for the second straight week in losing to Detroit on Thanksgiving, but Sam Bradford is back, and he was playing some of his best football of the year before being hurt. I think he comes to play in this one and the score is much closer than you might think for New England. Add to that the battle of the NFC East, with Washington and Dallas scrapping like they always do. Look for Matt Cassel to bring a few surprises of his own in an upset.
And last but not least, there’s a huge one for the Giants and the Jets from the Meadowlands. Eli might be the better QB but he certainly didn’t show it in that loss to the Redskins last week (let’s all say “3 interceptions” together). We’ll see if he has enough to overcome a tough Jets defense at home (everyone’s at home). Here are my Ace Picks for Week 13…
Seattle @ MINNESOTA – Yes, Russell Wilson got his game on last week in a crucial win against Pittsburgh, but that defense once again didn’t inspire me, and they gave up 30 points at home. Now they’re on the road against another solid defense in Minnesota, and Adrian Peterson has been taking over games. That won’t happen here, and Wilson stays hot. Pick: SEATTLE.
Cincinnati @ CLEVELAND – This might have qualified as a trap game in the near past, but this season’s Cincy team doesn’t fall flat when it matters, at least not against an Austin Davis led Cleveland squad. Andy Dalton has a big day, even without Tyler Eifert. Look for Marvin Jones to be all over the field, and expect a big day from Gio Bernard. Pick: CINCINNATI.
Baltimore @ MIAMI – If this game is being shown on TV anywhere then I feel really bad for the market that is being forced to watch it. This game should be a good one, though, even if it has absolutely no playoff implications. I like Buck Allen against the Dolphins defense better than I like Lamar Miller against the Ravens, and that’s where this game will be won, on the ground. Pick: BALTIMORE.
Houston @ BUFFALO – The Bills are still playing tough football, but they’re not stringing together many wins. At 5-6 they still have a chance, but only if they win this game, so they’re desperate. The Texans are tied for the lead in their division with the Colts so they have something to play for as well. The Texans have played phenomenal defense over the past four games, but can they keep it up against a solid run game? Yes. Pick: HOUSTON.
San Francisco @ CHICAGO – The 49ers have played tough of late with Blaine Gabbert infusing some energy into the passing game (that’s a phrase I never thought I’d say), and I think it continues against the Bears, even on the road. The problem is that Jay Cutler has been playing well too, and he has healthy weapons. Pick: CHICAGO.
Jacksonville @ TENNESSEE – This is more than Bortles vs. Mariota, but these two will get all the press because they’re young QBs with pretty high ceilings. Their teams are inconsistent, though, and Allen Hurns is out for this game. Mariota has a tendency to play well against poor defenses, and the Jaguars qualify. Pick: TENNESSEE.
Atlanta @ TAMPA BAY – I have absolutely no idea what is wrong with Matt Ryan, but whatever it is isn’t changing anytime soon. The Falcons are in a free fall, and I don’t see getting Devonta Freeman back as a sea change for them in this one against a feisty Tampa Bay team playing at home. Pick: TAMPA BAY.
Arizona @ ST. LOUIS – The truth is that I don’t trust either QB for the Rams, and especially not Nick Foles. The truth is that the defense hasn’t been anywhere near where they started at early in the season. I don’t see them slowing down Carson Palmer, and the Cardinals will get their turnovers. Pick: ARIZONA.
NY Jets @ NY GIANTS – As good as Eli can look one week is as bad as he can look the next, and I’ll admit he didn’t look great against the Redskins in a crucial divisional battle last week. This one is just as crucial because to get to the playoffs they will need to most likely take this one. While Ryan Fitzpatrick looked good last week. I think he keeps it going here. Pick: NY JETS (yes, even on the “road”).
Denver @ SAN DIEGO – Yes, yes. There’s footage now on Osweiler, but I don’t think it matters. This Denver team goes through its running backs now, and against San Diego you can run the ball. There’s really no mystery there, and the defense will do enough to keep Philip Rivers flustered all afternoon. Pick: DENVER.
Kansas City @ OAKLAND – People are already crowning the Chiefs as a playoff team, but I’m not people. I’m a discerning viewer, and what I saw from them last week wasn’t a definite playoff team. The defense gave up too many big plays to the Bills, and the offense was not lights out. Derek Carr lights them up. Pick: OAKLAND.
Carolina @ NEW ORLEANS – There was a time when you could pencil in a victory for the Saints at home, but that time is long past. Brees has been inconsistent this year, yes, even at home, and that defense hasn’t improved at all, even though they finally ditched Rob Ryan. It’s no surprise then that the number one team in the conference will come into the Big Easy and win handily. Pick: CAROLINA.
Philadelphia @ NEW ENGLAND – Tom Brady might be throwing to himself in this game, but it won’t even matter, not with the way the Eagles have been playing lately, right? Wrong. Without Edelman and Gronk it won’t be so easy to get points, even against Philadelphia. Because this Eagles team isn’t as bad as they’ve looked the past two weeks, especially with Sam Bradford back under center. Pick: PHILADELPHIA.
Indianapolis @ PITTSBURGH – The Colts have looked lights out with Hasselbeck in charge, right? And the Steelers just gave up 39 points to the Seahawks. But the Colts with Hasselbeck aren’t the Seahawks with Russell Wilson. Roethlisberger goes off, and Antonio Brown gets back in the groove. Pick: PITTSBURGH.
Dallas @ WASHINGTON – The Redskins are at home so they should take care of this one, right? Cousins is money at home, but Cousins hasn’t ever won two games in a row in his career. Will it start here now that they’re in first place in the division, against a Dallas team starting Matt Cassel? Nope. Cassel hasn’t been as bad as he’s looked lately, and the Cowboys have to win one without Romo at some point, right? Pick: DALLAS.